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Hope for Equality

04/03/2019 08:43:06 AM


Beth Schafer

I just returned home from the  Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) convention in Cincinnati, Ohio, where Rabbi Segal was installed as its next president. It was a beautiful service and Rabbi Ron gave a stirring and important sermon about women’s equality both in Jewish life and at-large. As if that wasn’t enough to make the service special, the CCAR acknowledged their new Executive Director, Rabbi Hara Person, the first woman to hold such a position. Another poignant moment in the service was when those who have served in the rabbinate for 50 years or more were given an Aliyah. This group was of course all men. The men who had given a life of service chanted their Aliyah in soft, baritone voices, while Rabbi Angela Buchdahl helped lead the service in her beautiful, lyrical mezzo-soprano voice alongside Rabbi Ken Chasen, and Rabbi Person read Torah after Rabbi Segal. There on the bima of the historic and magnificent Plum Street Synagogue, the history and future of the Reform rabbinate was presented before us. 

The walls of that synagogue hold the echoes of many voices who prayed there for well over a century. The chorus of voices with whom I sung and prayed that morning left in the sanctuary notes of hope; a hope that in our day women will emerge as equal in all aspects of life. Dwelling in the rafters at Plum Street are the voices of so many women rabbis lifted by the men who appreciate them, who will fight for them. That day I was especially proud to be a Reform woman leader standing alongside my rabbi who is a champion for women’s equality. How lucky are we at Temple Sinai, and how lucky the rabbinate is for Rabbi Segal’s leadership. 

May we all, men and women enter this Shabbat knowing how vital we are to one another as equal partners, and in doing so, bring us a little closer to the world to come. 

Shabbat shalom,


Thu, August 13 2020 23 Av 5780